|I rarely darkened the door, except when they had anti-freeze or anti-foul paint on sale, but this is a sea change for Toronto boating.|
A rare news alert from me to my readers in Southern Ontario who may attend the Toronto International Boat Show in January: As has been rumoured around the docks for some time, West Marine is closing up shop here in Toronto on Jarvis Street, which will leave only the revived Dock Shoppe (in Genco Marine's former digs on Queen's Quay) as the only chandlery proximate to the downtown waterfront.
Reliable sources state that West Marine should have a closedown sale at the Boat Show prior to the Lower Jarvis Street store shutting its doors in January to make way for the inevitable condo project. Word is that West Marine will be winding down its Canadian operations entirely when individual store leases end, with the goal to be completely out of Canada by 2017. It remains to be seen if the sale will be merely of the 25% off variety (boat show special) or the 70% off seen when The Dock Shoppe closed in 2012. I'm still installing things on Alchemy from that epic haul of gear.
So, if seeing the shrinking number of indifferently built sailboats that resemble condos puts you off at the Boat Show, you may wish to attend this year's event in the hopes of deep discounts. I rarely shopped at West Marine, because I tend to be less about the anchor-themed placemats and more about fisherman-grade gear, but I don't like the reduction of local choice in retail chandleries to one. Given the recent shuttering of Island Yacht Club and other rumours about clubs barely hanging on, it doesn't bode well for chandleries here in pricy, roads-torn-up Toronto and it looks like I'll be pedalling west...or sourcing on the internet...more than I had hoped to do.